Friday, 19 October 2018

(349) Balfour of The Manor, Sidmouth

Balfour of Sidmouth
This family claims descent from one Robert Balfour (b. 1647) and his wife Janet Stevenson, who lived in St. Ninian's, Stirling in the late 17th century, but a coherent genealogy is only available from the time of James Balfour (1744-1809), and the genealogy below begins with his son, Cdr. Robert Balfour (1772-1847), who was a Master (warrant officer) in the Royal Navy in the period 1796-1815 and who was advanced to the rank of retired Commander a few months before his death. Commander Balfour, who lived in Stirling, had two sons and a daughter who survived to adulthood, all of whom moved south to Manchester, where the elder son, George Edmond Balfour (1821-69) became a merchant and commission agent (i.e. a shipping agent), whose firm (Heugh, Balfour & Co.) traded predominantly with the Far East. The business was highly lucrative, for by the time of his death his estate was worth some £200,000, although it collapsed spectacularly in 1878 (by which time the Balfours were no longer associated with the company) with debts estimated at $10m. By 1860, George Balfour was in a position to divert some of his wealth into the acquisition of property, buying Woodheys Hall near Sale (Cheshire), which lay just beyond the outskirts of Manchester, as his own home, and then in 1866 investing in the purchase of the manor of Sidmouth (Devon). This was an estate in an increasingly fashionable district of the south coast which had had a series of colourful owners over the last century who had left the property badly eroded by land sales and with no major house. It may from the first have been his intention to rebuild the estate and construct a new country house there, to which he could retire in due course. 

Unfortunately, George's plans were cut shortly by his untimely death in 1869, and since his wife had already died in 1865, he left his young family and his property in the care of trustees. The Trustees sold Woodheys Hall and the family interest in Heugh Balfour & Co to pay the very substantial legacies due to George's daughter and younger son, while they devoted care and attention to expanding the Sidmouth estate and then building a new house there for George's elder son, John Edmond Heugh Balfour (1863-1952). After Eton, he pursued a career in the army until 1910, when he married a noted beauty and settled down at Sidmouth as the local squire. After he died in 1952, his widow and daughter sold the house and the manorial rights to Sidmouth Urban District Council. The house became a school and after that closed in 1972 it was converted into eleven apartments.

George's younger son, Kenneth Robert Balfour (1863-1936), who also pursued a career in the army, bought The Knowle, Sidmouth, in 1891.
The Knowle, Sidmouth, as first built for Lord Le Despencer, c.1810.
This house, once one of the most delightful cottages ornés ever built, had been greatly extended to its architectural detriment and converted into an hotel in 1882. By 1890 the hotel was struggling to survive, despite a regular flow of illustrious guests recorded in the local press. Kenneth Balfour bought it and established it on a sounder footing before selling the business on. In the same year, he bought Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour, with the intention of making Brownsea Castle there his own residence.
Steepleton House, Winterbourne Steepleton in 1911, shortly before
it was purchased by Lt-Col. Kenneth Balfour.
In 1896, however, the house was badly damaged by fire, and after completing restoration works he sold the house again in 1901 and settled in Bournemouth, where he was the local MP between 1900 and 1906. He moved next to the very grand Baroque Kingston Maurward House in Dorset, and then in 1914 to the rather less grand Steepleton House at Winterbourne Steepleton (Dorset), built in 1870, which remained his home for the rest of his life. Here, he and his second wife raised a family of six children, many of whom pursued illustrious careers. The best known of them was perhaps the eldest son, Ronald Edmond Balfour (1904-45), a medieval historian at Cambridge, who during the Second World War was one of the "Monument Men" charged with identifying buildings and cultural property to be protected by the advancing Allied armies, a role which required both scholarly expertise and great courage, since it meant working in the dangerous ground between the advancing Allies and the retreating Germans. Tragically in 1945 it cost Ronald Balfour his life.

Sidmouth Manor, Devon

Sidmouth Manor: the house from the south-east, as published by George Somers Clarke in Building News, 1876.

A restrained Jacobean-style house of red brick, designed by George Somers Clarke for the trustees of John Balfour and built in 1874-76. It stands on the site of a much smaller house built in 1825 for Maj-Gen. John Slessor and known as Broadway Farm. As originally designed, the house was L-shaped, with the principal rooms facing south, except for the main dining room which lay in the east wing adjoining the service accommodation; a single storey porch and cloakroom stood in the angle between the two wings. For reasons which are unclear, part of the design (at the western end of the south front) was not part of the original build, and was marked on the drawing above as being a 'future extension'. By 1907, however, part of this had already been built, with the third bay of the south front being raised from one to two storeys and made square rather than canted, and a further single-storey block being constructed to the west of this. After John Balfour married in 1910, the eastern service wing was extended in matching style, while in 1922 a further addition was made at the west end of the south front to accommodate a new dining room, leaving the house in its present form with four two-storey bay windows on the south front. Partly as a result of this complex evolution, the south front is balanced but not symmetrical: the four two-storied mullioned and transomed bay windows are not all the same, and they have odd additional windows and doorways between them.

Sidmouth Manor: the south front in 1907, showing the first extension to the original house.

Sidmouth Manor: the house from the south-west, showing the additions made in 1922.

Inside, the porch leads into an inner hall with dado-height panelling and walls covered in Spanish leather. This forms a corridor giving access to the drawing room, morning room, library and study along the south front. The first two rooms originally had stained glass by Morris & Co. (now in the V&A and Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery). Upstairs, there were thirteen principal bedrooms, with accommodation for female staff in the attics and for male servants in the east wing.

Sidmouth Manor: the east wing. The two small gables in the centre mark the original extent of the range: the part to the right was added after 1910.
In 1953 the house was sold to Sidmouth Urban District Council for £12,000 and the estate was broken up and sold to the tenant farmers. The Council sold the manor house on to become West Bank girls' school in 1954. When this closed in 1972, the house was divided into eleven separate dwellings. The former stables and the walled garden have also been converted to residential use, but otherwise the setting of the house remains little changed, with 32 acres of gardens and grounds, originally laid out by Edward Milner of Norwood (Surrey) alongside the building of the house, including a rose garden, lily ponds, a croquet lawn and a lime avenue leading to a circular Tuscan temple that is said at one time to have housed a telescope. The approach is still down a drive with a pretty tile-hung lodge between gatepiers flanked by curved walls chequered with flints, although the original gates were lost to the salvage drive in the Second World War.

Descent: Crown sold early 17th century to Sir Edmund Prideaux (c.1555-1629), 1st bt. of Netherton; to son, Sir Peter Prideaux (1596-1682), 2nd bt.; to son, Sir Peter Prideaux (1626-1705), 3rd bt.; to son, Sir Edmund Prideaux (1647-1720), 4th bt.; to son, Sir Edmund Prideaux (1675-1729), 5th bt.; to half-brother, Sir John Prideaux (1695-1766), 6th bt.; following a legal dispute sold 1787 by order of Chancery to Thomas Jenkins (d. 1798); to great-nephew, Thomas Jenkins; sold to Edward Ball Hughes (d. 1863); sold 1866 to George Edmond Balfour (1820-69); to son, Col. John Edmond Heugh Balfour (1863-1952), who leased it in 1934 to the Duke of Connaught and again during the Second World War as an hotel; sold 1953 to Sidmouth UDC; sold 1954 to West Bank Girls School; sold 1972 for conversion to multiple occupation.

Balfour family of Sidmouth

Balfour, Cdr. Robert (1772-1847). Son of James Balfour (1744-1809) and his wife Betty Caw (1745-88), born 7 April 1772. An officer in the Royal Navy (Master, 1796; retired Commander, 1846). He married, 29 December 1817, Isabella (1788-1836), daughter of George Edmond of Stirling, merchant, and had issue:
(1) George Keith Balfour (1819-20), born 12 November and baptised at Stirling, 6 December 1819; died in infancy, 5 August 1820;
(2) George Edmond Balfour (1821-69) (q.v.);
(3) Robert Balfour (1822-75), born 26 October and baptised at St. Ninians, 24 November 1822; married, 17 March 1864, Annie Shekelton (1830-1917) and had issue one son (the architect, Robert Shekelton Balfour (1869-1942)) and one daughter; died at his home in St. John's Wood (Middx), 27 October 1875; will proved 14 March 1876 (effects under £3,000);
(4) Jane Thompson Edmond Balfour (1827-98); married, 3 November 1858 at Manchester Cathedral, Elijah Pryce (1821-96) of Trederwen House (Montgomerys.) and Liverpool, colonial broker, son of David Pryce, gent.; died at Llandysilio (Montgomerys.), 30 April 1898; will proved 26 May 1899 (estate £20,884).
He lived at Southfield, Stirling.
He died 30 January 1847. His wife died 10 October 1836.

Balfour, George Edmond (1821-69). Eldest son of Capt. Robert Balfour (1772-1847) of Woodheys Hall and his wife Isabella Edmond, born 4 May 1821. In partnership with John Heugh and Malcolm Stewart Riach as merchants and commission agents at Manchester (Heugh Balfour & Co.). He married, 11 August 1859 at Leeds parish church (Yorks WR), Marianne (1837-65), daughter of John Jowitt, of Leeds (Yorks WR), and had issue:
(1) Georgiana Mary Balfour (1860-1946), baptised at Manchester Cathedral, 1 November 1860; married 1st, 3 June 1879 at St Mary Abbots, Kensington (Middx), Sir Walter George Barttelot (d. 1900), 2nd bt. of Stopham House (Sussex), and had issue two sons and one daughter; married 2nd, 22 October 1902, Beville Molesworth-St.Aubyn (d. 1946), younger son of Rev. Sir St. Aubyn Hender Molesworth-St.Aubyn, 12th bt.; died 6 February 1946.
(2) Col. John Edmond Heugh Balfour (1863-1952) (q.v.);
(3) Kenneth Robert Balfour (1863-1936) (q.v.).
He purchased Woodheys Hall, Ashton-upon-Mersey (Cheshire) and land at Alderley in about 1860. He bought the manorial estate of Sidmouth in 1866, and bequeathed it to trustees for his son John. His Cheshire property was left in trust for his second son, to be sold.
He died in London, 29 July 1869; his will was proved 15 September 1869 (effects under £200,000). His wife died, reputedly while being treated by a dentist, 19 July 1865.

Col. J.E.H. Balfour
Balfour, Col. John Edmond Heugh (1863-1952). Elder son of George Edmond Balfour (1821-69) of The Manor, Sidmouth and his wife Marianne, daughter of John Jowitt, of Leeds (Yorks WR), born at Ashton-upon-Mersey (Cheshire), 22 January, and baptised there, 3 March 1863. Educated at Eton. An officer in the 11th Hussars and later Royal Devon Yeomanry (Lt., 1881; Capt., 1891; Maj. by 1902; Lt-Col., 1905; Hon. Col., 1908); served in Boer War with Roberts Horse and later as ADC to Maj-Gen. Sir Ian Hamilton; Lt-Col. commanding 1st battn, Royal Devon Yeomanry, 1905-10; served in First World War, 1917-18; appointed DSO, 1900 and CMG, 1918. JP and DL (from 1936) for Devon; High Sheriff of Devon, 1922. He married, 8 October 1910 at Brompton Oratory (Middx), Evelyn (1891-1973), younger daughter of Hon. Robert Joseph Gerard-Dicconson of Wrightlington Hall (Lancs), and had issue:
(1) Elizabeth Evelyn Petronella Balfour (b. 1912), born 29 June 1912; married 1st, 23 June 1936, Maj. Amyas Chichester MC (1910-72) of Llangoed, Llyswen, Breconshire, younger son of Maj. Charles Hamlyn Chichester of Hall, Barnstaple (Devon) and had issue one son and two daughters; married 2nd, 1977, Vice-Adm. Sir (Robert) Dymock Watson (1904-88), kt., of Trebinshwn (Brecons.).
He came of age in 1888. During his minority his trustees reassembled the Manor estate and built a new manor house to the designs of George Somers Clarke in 1874-76. During the Second World War the house was leased as an hotel and it was sold after his death.
He died 5 October 1952; will proved 25 February 1953 (estate £93,094). His widow died 28 May 1973; her will was proved 19 September and 8 November 1973 (estate £51,506).

Balfour, Lt-Col. Kenneth Robert (1863-1936). Younger son of George Edmond Balfour (1820-69) of Woodheys Hall, Sale, and his wife Marianne, daughter of John Jowitt of Headingley, Leeds (Yorks WR), born 14 December 1863. Educated at Eton. An officer in 1st Dragoons and later with the Imperial Yeomanry (Lt., 1885; Capt., 1892; Maj., 1900; Lt-Col.) who served in Boer War and in First World War. Conservative MP for Christchurch (Hants), 1900-06; JP for Dorset; High Sheriff of Dorset, 1924; member of the Church Assembly; member of Salisbury Diocesan Finance Committee; chairman of governors, Dorchester Grammar School. He married 1st, 8 March 1888, Margaret Anne (c.1867-1901), daughter of C. Rogerson of Bayswater, London W, and 2nd, 2 January 1903 at St George, Hanover Square, London, May Eleanor (1875-1961), daughter of Brig-Gen. Arthur Broadwood CVO, and had issue:
(2.1) Ronald Edmond Balfour (1904-45), born 2 January 1904; educated at Eton and King's College, Cambridge (MA 1929); Fellow of King's College, Cambridge, 1928-39 and Lecturer in History, 1930-39; he was unmarried and without issue; in the Second World War he joined the Ministry of Information and in 1941 was commissioned in the King's Royal Rifle Corps (Capt.); he was seconded to the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives program under the Civil Affairs and Military Government Sections of the Allied armies and was killed in action, 10 March 1945, while operating beyond the Allied front line at Cleves, seeking out artworks to be protected from war damage; he is buried in Reichswald Forest War Cemetery;
(2.2) Margaret Eleanor Rosamond Balfour (1906-95), born 9 February 1906; educated at University College, London and University College Hospital (MD 1947; BS 1948; DPH 1949); MRCS and MRCP in 1952; an officer in Royal Army Medical Corps (Lt., 1942); married, 23 June 1952, Rev. Alan Eric Gray, son of Rev. Edgar Arnold Gray, and had no issue but adopted one son and one daughter; lived on Putney Hill, London SW15; died Oct-Dec 1995;
(2.3) Kenneth George Francis Balfour (1909-98), born 14 June 1909; educated at Eton and Harvard University (USA); he had ambitions to be a journalist and went to Spain as a freelance reporter on the Spanish Civil War; during the Second World War he served with 1st Dragoons, 1939-45 (Maj.), was awarded the MC, and acted as a war photographer; from 1947 he established a chain of newsagents and became managing director of Balfour News and associated companies; lived at Quoitings, Marlow (Bucks) and was a member of Marlow UDC and twice Mayor of Marlow; travelled extensively and adventurously; married, 1978, Heather Whitaker (d. 1985), physiotherapist, but had no issue; in her memory he established the Private Physiotherapy Educational Foundation, 1988; died 25 January 1998;
(2.4) Andrew David Arthur Balfour (1911-94), born 12 May 1911; educated at Eton, Magdalene College, Cambridge (BA 1933) and Middle Temple (called to bar, 1936); barrister-at-law; served in Second World War with Coldstream Guards (Maj.) and was awarded MBE, 1945; married, 7 June 1947 at Holy Trinity, Brompton (Middx), Joan Buchanan (d. 1993), daughter of Dr. Paul A.H. King FRCP of Victoria, British Columbia (Canada), and had issue two daughters; lived at Beech House, Shalford (Surrey); died 29 July 1993; will proved 17 January 1994 (estate £56,995);
(2.5) Violet Rosemary Balfour (1913-98), born 18 February 1913; married 1st, 3 October 1935, Maj. (Charles) Vere Broke (d. 1944), only son of Lt-Col. Harry Broke Broke of Gladwyns, Hatfield Heath (Essex) and had issue one son; married 2nd, 7 November 1946 (div. 1960), Roy McGregor Saunders, third son of William Mill Saunders of Radlett (Herts), and had issue one daughter; lived at Droxford (Hants); died 4 March 1998; will proved 12 June 1998;
(2.6) Nicholas Robert Balfour (1915-2002), born 17 August 1915; educated at Eton and King's College, Cambridge; served in Second World War with Royal Army Ordnance Corps (Lt., 1939) and Royal Electrical & Mechanical Engineers; married, 16 September 1949, Nancy Bately (1912-2004), daughter of Horace Bately Allard of Sydney (Australia) and previously wife of Robert Henville Simonds, and had issue two sons and two daughters; died at Kingham Lodge (Oxon), 8 August 2002 and was buried at Loders (Dorset), where he is commemorated by a tombstone.
He purchased The Knowle at Sidmouth, which had been a hotel since 1882 and had failed, and turned into into a successful hotel which operated until 1968. In the same year he bought Brownsea Castle on Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour in 1891. After the house birned down in 1896, he moved to Bournemouth, and when restoration was complete, he sold the island in 1901. He bought Kingston Maurward House (Dorset) in 1906 and moved in 1914 to Steepleton Manor, Winterbourne Steepleton (Dorset), where he lived until his death.
He died 8 September 1936 and was buried in Bournemouth; he is commemorated by a monument in Salisbury Cathedral. His first wife died after a long illness, 23 March 1901 and was buried at Bournemouth. His widow lived at Marlow (Bucks) and died 26 July 1961; her will was proved 13 November 1961 (estate £49,128).


Burke's Landed Gentry, 1972, p. 39; H. Meller, The country houses of Devon, 2015, pp. 920-22;

Location of archives

No significant accumulation is known to survive, but some papers may remain in private hands.

Coat of arms

Argent, on a chevron sable between three lions passant gules, an otter's head erased of the field.

Notes about missing information and help wanted with this entry

  • Can anyone supply additional photographs or portraits of members of this family whose names appear in bold above?

Revision and acknowledgements

This post was first published 19 October 2018.

Sunday, 14 October 2018

(348) Balfour of Burleigh Castle, Fernie Castle and Kindrogan, Barons Balfour of Burleigh

Balfour of Burleigh
The Balfour family of Balgarvie acquired the lands of Burleigh in Kinross-shire by charter in 1456, and Burleigh became their principal residence in the 16th century. The property descended in the male line down to the time of Michael Balfour (d. 1577), whose only child, Margaret (d. 1590), married Sir James Balfour (d. 1584) of Pittendreich and Montquhanie. Sir James was a significant player in the high-stakes politics of late 16th century Scotland, and exhibited very little morality in his determined pursuit of personal advantage. He ended up being attainted for treason in 1579 and his estates were seized by the Crown, while he fled abroad. Although he was eventually permitted to return to Scotland, he was never rehabilitated, and only after his death was Burleigh fully returned to his widow and son, Sir Michael Balfour (d. 1619), who in 1607 was created Lord Balfour of Burleigh. Sir Michael seems to have been almost as determined in his pursuit of personal advancement as his father had been, but either his abilities or the tenor of the times ensured his life was less turbulent than his father's. He married twice, but like his grandfather produced only one daughter, Margaret (d. 1639), who duly succeeded him as Baroness Balfour of Burleigh. In 1606 she married Robert Arnot, who took the name Balfour, and received a new charter of the estates at Burleigh and Fernie Castle on his father-in-law's resignation in 1607. Robert Balfour sat in the Scottish Parliament in right of his wife, and in the 1640s became an important figure, serving several times as President of the Parliament. At the Restoration, he was excepted from the Act of Indemnity and heavily fined for his role in the Civil War and Commonwealth periods, but he died soon afterwards. His son, John Balfour (c.1620-97), 3rd Lord Balfour of Burleigh, divided his property between his sons, with the elder, Robert Balfour (1651-1713), 4th Lord Balfour of Burleigh, receiving Burleigh, and the second son, Lt-Col. the Hon. John Balfour (d. 1725) receiving Fernie. Both John Balfour and his nephew, Robert Balfour (1687-1757), 5th Lord Balfour of Burleigh, joined the Jacobite cause during the 1715 rebellion and were arrested and attainted for treason, their estates being seized by the Crown. John Balfour's son, Arthur Balfour (d. 1746), had however, remained loyal to the Hanoverian succession, and in 1720 he recovered possession of Fernie Castle; he was probably responsible for enlarging the house soon afterwards. The Burleigh estate was sold at auction in 1723 and bought by the 5th Lord's sister, the Hon. Margaret Balfour (d. 1769), although she sold it again before her death, at which point the family's connection with Burleigh was permanently severed.

Arthur Balfour had three sons who succeeded in turn to possession of Fernie Castle. The youngest of the three, Francis Balfour (c.1744-1818), who inherited in 1795, had spent his working lifetime as a physician and surgeon with the East India Company in India, and only finally retired to Scotland in 1807. He appears to have amused himself in his declining years by making castellated additions to Fernie Castle in a rather charming 'cardboard Gothic' style, and he died at the house in 1818. His son and heir, also Francis Balfour (1779-1854), had followed his father into the East India Company's service and was a customs officer in India until 1824. Once back in Scotland, he married and raised a family of three sons, and in the 1840s he turned his attention to a more extensive remodelling of Fernie Castle, which essentially produced the house we see today. In 1862, his eldest son, Maj. Francis Walter Balfour (1830-1909), attempted to claim the barony of Balfour of Burleigh, which had been suspended under the attainder of 1715 for nearly a century and a half. Protracted hearings by the Committee of Privileges of the House of Lords eventually determined that although Francis was the heir male of the last Lord, the terms of the letters patent by which the peerage had been granted meant that in default of a son to inherit, the title could pass through the female line. The rightful claimant was therefore a descendant of the 5th Lord's younger sister, who had married into the Bruces of Kennet, and he duly succeeded when the attainder was reversed in 1869. This explains why the surname of the current Lords Balfour of Burleigh is Bruce rather than Balfour.

Major F.W. Balfour was married in 1866 to Jane Amelia (1840-98), the daughter and heiress of Patrick Small Keir (d. 1889) of Kindrogan (Perthshire), and on his father-in-law's death, this property came into the Balfour family. Conveniently, Major Balfour had two sons, and the elder, Francis Balfour (1867-1926), inherited Kindrogan while the younger, William Keir Balfour (1869-1941) received Fernie Castle. William died childless, but Francis was succeeded by the energetic Francis Keir Balfour (1905-74), who on the death of his uncle's widow in 1952, also inherited the Fernie Castle estate. F.K. Balfour and his wife had no children, and perhaps because there was no close relative to succeed to the estates and continue the Balfour name, in 1960 he sold both Kindrogan and Fernie Castle within a few months and retired to a Dirnanean, a smaller house adjacent to the Kindrogan estate which he had bought in the 1920s. The Kindrogan estate went to the Forestry Commission and the house in due course became a Field Studies Centre, while Fernie Castle became an hotel.

Burleigh Castle, Kinross-shire

The earliest part of the present ruined castle is the rectangular north-west tower, dating from c.1500 and probably built for Michael Balfour (d. 1524/5), which consisted of three storeys and attics. The ground floor was a vaulted storeroom and the vault survives, but the upper floors were ceiled and the timbers of their floors and the roof above have long since vanished. 

Burleigh Castle: the north-west tower on the left dates from c.1500; the rest from 1582.
Image: "johnny.cassettes".
The rest of the castle was built c.1582 for Sir James Balfour (d. 1584) of Pittendreich and his wife Margaret. Her father died in 1577 and Sir James inherited in right of his wife. In 1579 he was declared a traitor and his lands were forfeited, but in 1580 his wife was granted a life rent of the estate and in 1584 she and her son acquired full control of the property. Work may have begun before the forfeiture, but the only date, on the south-west tower, is for 1582. It is not known what buildings may have accompanied the original tower, but they were all swept away to allow the creation of a courtyard with the old tower at its north-west corner. New ranges of building were constructed on the southern and western sides of the courtyard (the northern and eastern sides being apparently enclosed by walls), and a squat two-storey tower, corbelled out from a round base to a rectangular upper floor, was built at the south-west angle. It is thought to have contained the principal bedroom of the castle. Only the front wall of the west range survives and the south range has gone altogether, but the tower where they met survives, roofed and remarkably intact. Apparently 18th century chimneypieces on both floors of the tower show that occupation of the building continued surprisingly late, and it was probably only finally abandoned when Margaret Balfour sold it in the mid 18th century.

Descent: granted in 1456 to Michael Balfour (fl. 1456); to son, Michael Balfour (d. 1525); to son, David Balfour (d. c.1531); to son, Michael Balfour (d. 1577); to daughter, Margaret (d. 1590), wife of Sir James Balfour (d. 1584), kt., whose lands were seized by the Crown, 1579, but regranted to Margaret in 1580; to son, Sir Michael Balfour (d. 1619), kt. and 1st Lord Balfour of Burleigh; to daughter, Margaret (d. 1639), Baroness Balfour of Burleigh, wife of Robert Arnot (later Balfour) (d. 1663); to son, John Balfour (d. 1697), 3rd Lord Balfour of Burleigh; to son, Robert Balfour (d. 1713), 4th Lord Balfour of Burleigh; to son, Robert Balfour (d. 1747), 5th Lord Balfour of Burleigh, who was attainted and had his lands seized for his part in the 1715 rebellion; sold 1723 by auction to Hon. Margaret Balfour (d. 1769), who sold after 1747 but before her death.

Fernie Castle, Monimail, Fife

The core of Fernie Castle near Letham (Fife) is a 16th century tower, perhaps begun for Florentin Adinulty, who was granted the lands of Fernie in 1510 on condition that he build a sufficient house of stone and lime. If so, it was probably raised and enlarged late in the 16th century after the Fernie family recovered possession, and by the late 16th century the house consisted of a four-storey main block with two projecting towers at its western end: a taller crowstepped-gabled stairtower on the south side, and a round tower corbelled out to a diagonally-set rectangular caphouse on the north side.

Fernie Castle: looking at the house from the south-west throws the original tower into prominence.
Image: Nicholas Kingsley. Some rights reserved.

The castle and estate seem to have been sold in about 1605 to Sir Michael Balfour, 1st Lord Balfour of Burleigh, who was appointed James VI and I's Ambassador to the Duke of Tuscany and Lorraine in 1606. He died leaving as his sole heiress his daughter Margaret (d. 1639), whose husband, Robert Arnot (d. 1663) took the name Balfour and succeeded to both the Balfour of Burleigh title and estates in her right.

In 1697, on the death of the 3rd Lord Balfour of Burleigh, Fernie passed to his younger son, the Hon. John Balfour (d. 1725), a Lt-Col. in the army, who declared for the Jacobites in the 1715 uprising. As part of the reprisals against those who had supported the Pretender, his estates were seized by the Crown. John's son, Arthur Balfour (d. 1746), had however, remained loyal to the Hanoverian cause, and in 1720 he received a grant of his father's estates. It was probably soon after this that he added a three-storey residential block to the east side of the old tower at Fernie Castle, which now forms the principal part of the house.

Fernie Castle: the house from the south-east, after the removal of the harling.

When Arthur died in 1746 he was succeeded in turn by his three sons: Sandford (d. 1769), John (d. 1795) and Francis (d. 1818). The last named returned from a career with the East India Company as a surgeon in India in 1807, and occupied his final years by giving the castle castellated additions in the 'toy fort' style, including the porch in front of the stairtower and a single-storey western extension with a battlemented parapet, which hid the service court. Probably at the same time, he constructed the stables and kennels across the park, built around two courtyards: these have now been converted as hotel accommodation. In c.1844-49, his son, another Francis Balfour (1779-1854), remodelled the 18th century eastern extension to the designs of Alexander Blyth or Alexander Mitchell, both whom were involved in some capacity. They made a new front door, added crowsteps to the gable-end, and built a Baronial extension at the back and a conical-roofed tower at the north-east angle, as well as remodelling the interior. The decorative features of the interiors are now mostly of the 1840s, and include a pleasant double drawing room on the first floor of the east block, and fine circular bedrooms in the big tower at the west end. The room next to the drawing room has a grey marble chimneypiece which is more likely to date from the 1815 alterations.

The house remained in the possession of the Balfour family until 1960, when Francis Keir Balfour sold it for development as an hotel. Since then, a round ballroom has been added at the rear, and since 1996, the once yellow-ochre coloured harling which unified the appearance of the house has been stripped off, at the cost of damage to its appearance and the protection of its fabric.

Descent: Florentin Adinulty (fl. 1510); recovered by 1527 by Walter Fernie (d. 1551); to son, who sold 1582 to William Fernie of Foxtoun... sold c.1605 to Sir Michael Balfour (d. 1619), 1st Lord Balfour of Burleigh; to daughter, Margaret (d. 1639), Baroness Balfour of Burleigh, wife of Robert Arnot (later Balfour) (d. 1663), Baron Balfour of Burleigh in right of his wife; to son, John Balfour (d. 1697), 3rd Baron Balfour of Burleigh; to younger son, Lt-Col. the Hon. John Balfour (d. 1725), who was attainted for his part in the '15 and whose estates were seized by the Crown but granted again in 1720 and 1738 to his son, Arthur Balfour (d. 1746); to son, Sandford Balfour (1741-c.1767); to brother, John Balfour (c.1743-95); to brother Francis Balfour (c.1744- 1818); to son, Francis Balfour (1779-1854); to son, Maj. Francis Walter Balfour (1830-1909); to son, William Keir Balfour (1869-1941); to widow Mary Balfour (d. 1952) and then to his nephew, Francis Keir Balfour (1905-74), who sold 1960 for use as an hotel.

Kindrogan, Enochdhu, Perthshire

Kindrogan House: entrance front

A wide but low mid 19th century harled and white-painted two-storey house hunkering down into the landscape of upper Strathardle, probably built for Patrick Small Keir (1782-1860). It was perhaps built shortly before it was first recorded in 1849, but may incorporate some elements of the previous, reputedly 18th century, building on the site. The design has distinct echoes of the nearby Balnakeilly and the more distant Auchleeks House: as at the latter,  the south-east facing entrance front has a slightly projecting centre containing the doorcase with a tripartite window above it, and also projecting end bays. But whereas at Auchleeks the whole facade is only five bays wide, at Kindrogan there is a five bay centre between the wings, and the wings have crowstepped gables, a mark of the later date of this house. The side elevation to the south-west consists of four bays, but is continued by a lower six-bay wing, not quite on the same alignment, with a further gable on the second bay from the right. Inside, the house preserves substantial remnants of the 19th century decorative scheme with decorative plaster cornices, timber doorcases and shutters, a cantilevered dog-leg staircase with a cast iron balustrade, a Tudor-style chimneypiece and a decorative ceiling in the former ballroom. The house became an hotel for a brief period in the early 1960s and was then sold for use as a Field Studies Centre, which it remains today.

Descent: Keir family, by descent to Margaret, wife of William Small; to son, Patrick Small Keir (1782-1860); to son, Patrick Small Keir (1810-89); to daughter, Jane Amelia (c.1840-98), wife of Francis Walter Balfour (1831-1909); to son, Francis Balfour (1867-1926); to son, Francis Keir Balfour (1905-74), who leased the house between the wars to his parents-in-law, Sir George and Lady Dolby, and sold 1960 to Forestry Commission, who leased it for use as an hotel; sold 1963 to Scottish Field Studies Association; gifted to Field Studies Council in 2010.

Dirnanean, Enochdhu, Perthshire

Dirnanean House

Although the estate belonged to the Small family and their descendants from the 16th century until the 1970s, the present house seems to be an early to mid 19th century laird's house, smaller in scale than Kindrogan but in a similar style. The building is again two-storeyed and low to the ground, which makes sense in this location a thousand feet above sea level. There have been various later additions and alterations, including the square bay window added at the left-hand end of the entrance front and the large porch next to it, which may date from after the Balfour family bought the estate in 1926.

Descent: John Stewart, 5th Earl of Atholl granted 1588 to Andrew Small; to son, George Small; to son, Andrew Small; to son, Patrick Small; ...Patrick Small (d. 1859); to son, James Small (1835-1900)... sold 1926 to Francis Keir Balfour (1905-74); sold after his death.

Balfour family of Burleigh, Barons Balfour of Burleigh

Balfour, Michael (fl. 1456). Son of Sir John Balfour (d. by 1486) of Balgarvie. He married Margaret [surname unknown], who seems to have been Treasurer of the Queen's Household, and had issue:
(1) Michael Balfour (d. 1524/5) (q.v.).
He had a feu-charter of Burleigh (Kinross-shire) and Tulery in 1456. He inherited Balgarvie from his father by 1486, and in 1490 he resigned these estates to the Crown for a regrant to his son, Michael.
He died before 1502.

Balfour, Michael (d. 1525). Son of Michael Balfour (fl. 1456) and his wife Margaret, born before 1464. He held an office in the King's ale cellar and was knighted in 1503. He married, before July 1502, Margaret Muschat, and had issue, perhaps among others:
(1) David Balfour (d. c.1531) (q.v.).
He had a charter of Burleigh and Balgarvie in 1490 on the resignation of his father and was probably responsible for building the earliest surviving tower at Burleigh. He resigned his estates to his son at the beginning of 1525.

He probably died between January and July 1525. His wife's date of death is unknown.

Balfour, David (d. c.1531). Son of Michael Balfour (d. 1524/5) and his wife Margaret Muschat. He succeeded his father as carver in the Royal Household, 1525. 
He married Agnes, daughter of Sir Duncan Forrester of Torwood, and had issue:
(1) Michael Balfour (d. 1577) (q.v.);
(2) Walter Balfour (fl. 1577);
(3) Robert Balfour (fl. 1564);
(4) Margaret Balfour; married Robert Douglas of Lochleven;
(5) A daughter; married Andrew Seton of Parbroath.
He inherited Burleigh from his father in 1525.
He died before 1531. His wife's date of death is unknown.

Balfour, Michael (d. 1577). Eldest son of David Balfour (d. c.1531) and his wife Agnes, daughter of Sir Duncan Forester. He married, before 1545, Christina, daughter of John Bethune of Creich, and had issue:
(1) Margaret Balfour (d. 1590); received a grant of a monopoly of making refined salt at Pittenweem (Fife), 1587; married 1st, Sir James Balfour (d. 1584), kt. (q.v.) of Pittendreich and Montquhanie (Fife), 
and had issue six sons and three daughters [for whom see the entry below for Sir James Balfour]; she is said to have married 2nd, Sir Robert Melville, the King's Secretary of State, but his first wife was still living in 1586 and this seems unlikely; she died in 1590.
He inherited Burleigh from his father in 1531; in 1542 he and his mother had a grant of the lands of Starr, and in 1545 he and his wife had a charter of the lands of Balgarvy.
He died 29 November 1577; his will was confirmed 2 April 1579. His wife's date of death is unknown.

Balfour, Sir James (d. 1584), Lord Pittenweem. Son of Sir Michael Balfour of Montquhany; his eldest brother Michael Balfour was ancestor of the Balfours of Balfour Castle (Orkney). As the author of the Scots Peerage put it, 'the political career of this statesman-lawyer... was not a creditable one; a man of undoubted ability, he distinguished himself chiefly by the facility with which he went from one political party to another as he found most convenient for his own interests'. He became a Protestant while a companion of John Knox (c.1513-72) in the garrison of St. Andrews Castle, 1546-47, and was a fellow-prisoner with Knox in the French galleys in 1547-49, but it was not long before he renounced the Protestant religion, and entered the service of Mary of Guise. After Mary, Queen of Scots arrived in Scotland he became one of her secretaries. He was a member of the Privy Council by 1561, and became a Lord of Session as Lord Pittenweem later that year. He was made one of the four Commissaries of Edinburgh, 8 February 1564, and was knighted and appointed Clerk Register of the Court of Session in 1566. He was openly accused of being one of those behind the murder of Lord Darnley, and in 1567 was Governor of Edinburgh Castle for Queen Mary and Bothwell. On the fall of the queen, he ensured his own safely by surrendering the castle. He was subsequently appointed Commendator of Pittenweem (Fife), and President of the Court of Session. After the death of the Earl of Moray in 1570 he switched sides to support the Queen again, before in 1572 deserting her for a second time. In 1571 his estates had been forfeited by Act of Parliament, but he and his brothers Gilbert and Robert were pardoned and reinstated. The charges arising from the murder of Lord Darnley being revived, however, he found it prudent to retire to France; he was again attainted for treason, 1579, and his lands were forfeited and regranted to others. He returned to Scotland in about 1580 to give evidence to the Privy Council against the Earl of Morton, and received a degree of protection, but he never regained his lands and offices. He married Margaret (d. 1590), daughter of Michael Balfour (d. 1577) of Burleigh, and had issue:
(1) Sir Michael Balfour (d. 1619), 1st Lord Balfour of Burleigh (q.v.);
(2) James Balfour (d. 1634); he and his parents received a grant of lands at Musselburgh in 1573; he was described as prior of the Charterhouse, Perth, although how this should be interpreted is unclear since the Charterhouse had formally been dissolved in 1569; he had resigned that office before 1 February 1599; he was knighted before 1619 and raised to the Irish peerage as Baron Balfour of Glenawley, 8 November 1619; the creation of an Irish title may imply that he was an agent for his elder brother in managing the plantation of Ulster; he married 1st, Grizel, oldest daughter of Patrick Balfour of Pitcullo, by whom he had issue three sons and three daughters; 2nd, Elizabeth, daughter of George Hay, Earl of Erroll (who had previously married Sir John Leslie of Balquhain but divorced him 9 March 1597) and 3rd, Anne, daughter of Edward, 1st Lord Blaney; he died in London and was buried at St Anne, Blackfriars, 24 October 1634;
(3) William Balfour (fl. 1598); he was confined in Edinburgh Castle in 1598 but released on bail;
(4) Henry Balfour (d. by 1615); entered the service of the United States of the Netherlands, and became an officer in the Dutch army (Capt.); married Maria Van Leeuven (fl. 1618) died before 4 August 1615;
(5) David Balfour (d. by 1638); entered the service of the United States of the Netherlands, and became an officer in the Dutch army; married, 30 October 1607, Anne, daughter of Sir Paul Bax, and had issue three sons and one daughter; died before 6 December 1638;
(6) John Balfour; entered the service of the United States of the Netherlands, and became an officer in the Dutch army; in 1606 he offered to raise a company of Scottish infantry for service in the Low Countries;
(7) Marie Balfour; married Walter Arnot of Arnot (Fife);
(8) Helen Balfour; said to have married Barclay of Collairnie;
(9) Agnes Balfour; married John Henderson of Fordell.
He inherited Burleigh in right of his wife in 1577. He forfeited his estates in 1579 but they were regranted to his wife and children after his death in 1584.
He died on or about 24 January 1584. His widow is said to have married 2nd, Sir Robert Melville, but this is perhaps unlikely; she died in 1590.

Balfour, Sir Michael (d. 1619), 1st Lord Balfour of Burleigh. Eldest son of Sir James Balfour (d. 1584), kt., of Burleigh, Pittendreich and Montquhanie, Lord Pittenweem, and his wife Margaret, daughter of Michael Balfour of Burleigh. He was knighted before 1592. In 1599 he secured a monopoly on the import of stands of armour from Flanders, which he seems to have enforced energetically. In 1601 he was charged with harbouring Jesuit priests, but was acquitted, and he was soon after appointed one of the Masters of the King's Household. A few weeks later he was sent on an embassy to France, perhaps again in connection with the supply of armour, but in 1606 he was appointed Ambassador to the Duke of Tuscany and Lorraine. He was created Lord Balfour of Burleigh by letters patent, 16 July 1607, 
and was sworn of the Privy Council, 1610. In 1611 he became one of the five Undertakers for the Plantation of Ulster, and received a grant of 3,000 acres in Co. Fermanagh, although he may never have visited Ulster in person. He incurred the King's displeasure in 1612 and was briefly removed from the Privy Council, but he was reinstated in 1613. He married 1st, October 1577, Marion Adamson, and 2nd, 1591 (contract 12 July), Margaret (d. 1625), daughter of William Lundie of Lundie, and had issue:
(2.1) Margaret Balfour (d. 1639), Baroness Balfour of Burleigh; married, 1606 (contract 30 August), Robert Arnot (later Balfour) (d. 1663) (q.v.), and had issue one son and four daughters; died in Edinburgh, June 1639.
He had charters in 1567 and 1568 from James Stewart, Earl of Moray, Regent of Scotland, of the lands of Strathkiness, Ballone, and the ecclesiastical lands near Cupar called Kirkfield, and was regranted Burleigh with his mother after his father's death in 1584; he arranged a further regrant of these lands to him in 1600. He purchased Fernie Castle in about 1605. In 1606 he resigned his estates to the Crown, reserving his own life rent, and petitioned for a new grant of the lands to his son-in-law and his issue by his daughter, which was duly issue in 1607. In 1614 he received a Crown grant of the lands of Kilwinning Abbey, which he sold shortly afterwards to the Earl of Eglinton.He died 15 March 1619, and his will was confirmed 10 July 1620. His first wife died by 1591. His widow died at Kilmanie (Fife) in 1625; her will was confirmed 10 June 1626.

Arnot (later Balfour), Robert (d. 1663), Lord Balfour of Burleigh. Eldest son and heir of Robert Arnot of Newton, Chamberlain of Fife. Deputy Comptroller. In consideration of his intended marriage, he became the adopted son of the 1st Lord Balfour of Burleigh, and took the name and arms of Balfour in lieu of Arnot. He was a Presbyterian in religion, and sat in the Scots Parliament as a baron in right of his wife from 1621, where he was chosen President for the sessions of 1640-41, Vice-President in 1650, and President again in 1651. He was one of the Commissioners for the Treaty of Peace with England in 1640 and 1641, was appointed a Privy Councillor, 1641, and opposed the decision to send Scottish troops in England for the rescue of the King. In 1644 and 1645 he was in the field with the Covenanting Army, but was twice defeated by Montrose at Aberdeen and Kilsyth. He was made a Burgess of Aberdeen in 1644, a Commissioner of the Treasury in 1649, and Commissioner of Supply for Fife and Kinross, 1655. He was excepted from the Act of Indemnity in 1662 and fined a crushing £13,333, which he did survive long enough to pay. He married, 1606, Margaret (d. 1639), Baroness Balfour of Burleigh, only child of Sir Michael Balfour, 1st Lord Balfour of Burleigh (q.v.), and had issue:
(1) John Balfour (d. 1697), 3rd Baron Balfour of Burleigh (q.v.);

(2) Hon. Jean Balfour (d. 1649); married 4 February 1627, David Wemyss (1610-79), later 2nd Earl of Wemyss, and had issue six sons and five daughters; died 10 November 1649;
(3) Hon. Margaret Balfour; married, as his first wife, Sir John Crawfurd of Kilbirnie, but had no issue;
(4) Hon. Isabel Balfour; married Thomas, 1st Lord Ruthven of Freeland, and had issue;
(5) Hon. Jean Balfour; married her cousin, James Arnot of Fernie.
Her husband received a  Crown grant of Burleigh and Fernie Castle in 1607, subject to her father's life-rent.
She died in Edinburgh in June 1639. Her husband died at Burleigh, 10 August 1663.

Balfour, John (c.1620-97), 3rd Lord Balfour of Burleigh. Only son and heir of Robert Arnot (later Balfour), and his wife Margaret, Baroness Balfour of Burleigh, daughter of Sir Michael Balfour, 1st Lord Balfour of Burleigh, probably born about 1620. As a young man he was a good deal in France, where he was wounded, and coming home through London in 1649 he met and married (without the consent of his father, who tried unsuccessfully to get the marriage annulled), Isabella, daughter of Sir William Balfour of Pitcullo, then Lieutenant of the Tower of London, and had issue:
(1) Robert Balfour (d. 1713), 4th Baron Balfour of Burleigh (q.v.);
(2) Lt-Col. the Hon. John Balfour (d. 1725) [for whom see below, Balfour of Fernie Castle];
(3) Maj. the Hon. Henry Balfour (fl. 1683-1715), of Dunbog (Fife); an officer in the Dragoons (Maj.), who also served abroad in the service of the States of Holland; 
he was granted the lands of Starr in 1691 and Dunbog in 1694;  MP for Fife in the last Scottish Parliament, where he opposed the union with England; he took part in the 1715 rebellion and was captured at Carlisle; he was attainted and his lands seized by the Crown, but they were regranted to his children in 1720 and 1728; he married, before 1697, Elizabeth Oliphant, widow of George Bannerman of Dunbog, and had issue three sons and six daughters;
(4) Hon. Margaret Balfour (c.1653-1734), born about 1653; married, November 1670, Andrew (d. 1701), 3rd Lord Rollo, whom she sued for desertion in 1696, and had issue three sons and four daughters; died at Canongate, Edinburgh, 20 October 1734;
(5) Hon. Isobel Balfour; died unmarried;
(6) Hon. Emilia Balfour (c.1658-1732), born about 1658; married Sir John Malcolm (1646-1729), 1st bt. of Lochore and Innertiel, and had issue four sons; died 12 January 1732;
(7) Hon. Jean Balfour; married 1st, 1684, as his second wife, George Oliphant (d. 1684) of Gask, and had issue one daughter, born posthumously, who died in infancy; she married 2nd, May 1688, Sir Robert Douglas of Kirkness, and had issue a daughter (who became the mother of the political economist, Adam Smith);
(8) Hon. Susan Balfour; married Robert Douglas (d. 1706) of Strathendry and had issue two sons;
(9) Hon. Anne Balfour (b. 1670), born 10 March 1670; married Capt. Robert Sinclair, but had no issue.
He inherited Burleigh and Fernie Castles from his father in 1663.
He died between 10 December 1696 and 27 February 1697. His wife's date of death is unknown.

Balfour, Robert (1651-1713), 4th Lord Balfour of Burleigh. Elder son of John Balfour (c.1620-97), 3rd Lord Balfour of Burleigh, and his wife Isabella, daughter of Sir William Balfour of Pitcullo, baptised at Dysart (Fife), 25 November 1651. He was one of the Commissioners for serving the office of Lord Clerk Register of the Court of Session, 1689. He married Lady Margaret, only daughter of George Melville, 4th Lord and 1st Earl of Melville, and had issue:
(1) Robert Balfour (1687-1757), 5th Baron Balfour of Burleigh (q.v.);
(2) Hon. Margaret Balfour (d. 1769), who would have succeeded as Baroness Balfour but for her brother's attainder; in 1723 she purchased the Burleigh estate from the Crown at auction; it was in her possession in 1747 but was later sold; she died unmarried at Edinburgh, 12 August 1769 and was buried at Canongate kirkyard;
(3) Hon. Mary Balfour (d. 1758); married, 6 August 1714, Maj. Alexander Bruce (d. 1748) of Kennet, and had issue one son (ancestor of the Bruces of Brucefield, to whom the Barony of Balfour of Burleigh passed when the attainder of the 5th Baron was reversed in 1869; this family and the later Lords Balfour of Burleigh will be the subject of a separate post) and one daughter; died at Kerse (Stirlings.), 7 November 1758.
He inherited Burleigh Castle from his father in 1697.
He died in July 1713. His wife's date of death is unknown.

Balfour, Robert (1687-1757), 5th Lord Balfour of Burleigh. Only son of Robert Balfour (d. 1713), 4th Baron Balfour of Burleigh, and his wife Margaret, only daughter of George Melville, 4th Lord and 1st Earl of Melville. 
When a young man he fell in love with the governess of his sisters, Miss Robertson, on account of which he was sent to travel, and she was dismissed. Before going he threatened that if she married anyone else in his absence, he would kill her husband. Despite the threat, she married Henry Stenhouse, the schoolmaster at Inverkeithing, having acquainted him with the risk, but when Balfour returned home, on 9 April 1707 he carried his threat and shot Stenhouse in front of his pupils, wounding him in the shoulder. The intent may not have been murder, but after twelve days Stenhouse died. For this crime, Balfour was tried and found guilty on 4 August 1709, and sentenced to be beheaded, but he escaped from prison the day before his execution by exchanging clothes with one of his sisters, and no very great efforts appear to have been made to recapture him. In 1714 he was present at a meeting at Lochmaben when the health of the Pretender was publicly drunk, and he took part in the rebellion the following year, for which he was attainted by Act of Parliament, 13 November 1715, and stripped of his title and estates. He was unmarried and without issue.
He inherited Burleigh Castle from his father in 1713, but it was seized by the Crown in 1715 on his attainder.
He was buried at Greyfriars kirkyard, Edinburgh, 20 March 1757.

Balfour family of Fernie Castle

Balfour, Lt-Col. The Hon. John (d. 1725). Second son of John Balfour (d. 1697), 3rd Lord Balfour of Burleigh, and his wife Isabella, daughter of Sir William Balfour of Pitcullo. An officer in the Army of King James VII and II (Lt-Col.). He joined the Jacobite rebellion in 1715, and was tried at Carlisle and attainted for treason, 1716. He married, 1684 (contract 7 October), Barbara (d. 1709), daughter of Rt. Rev. Arthur Ross, Archbishop of Glasgow, and had issue including:
(1) Arthur Balfour (1687-1746) (q.v.);
(2) Barbara Balfour (b. 1689), baptised at Monimail, 6 May 1689; married, 28 November 1703, John Robertson of Inches;
(3) John Balfour (d. 1767); served heir to Capt. William Crawford of Powmiln, 1731, under a deed of tailzie and took the name and arms of Crawford in lieu of Balfour; he was also served heir to his younger brother, Robert Balfour, 1738; married and had issue three sons and one daughter; died at Edinburgh, 8 February 1767;
(4) Robert Balfour (d. by 1738); died in or before March 1738, when his brother was served heir to him;
(5) Isobel Balfour (d. 1763); married, 1709, Sir John Malcolm (1681-1753), 2nd bt., of Lochore, and had issue one son; died at Kirkcaldy (Fife), 14 December 1763.
He inherited Fernie Castle from his father in 1697, but his property was sequestered by the Crown in 1716 on his attainder. Fernie was regranted in 1720 to his son, Arthur Balfour.
He died 8 September 1725. His wife was buried at Monimail, 9 September 1709.

Balfour, Arthur (1687-1746). Eldest son of Lt-Col. the Hon. John Balfour (d. 1725) and his wife Barbara, daughter of Rt. Rev. Arthur Ross, Archbishop of Glasgow, baptised at Glasgow, 27 June 1687. He served with the Hanoverian forces during the 1715 Jacobite rebellion. He married 1st, 1736 (contract 21 February), Dorothy Sandford (d. 1739), widow of Christopher Crackenthorpe of Crackenthorpe (Westmld) and 2nd, 1 June 1740 at Edinburgh, Janet (d. 1796), daughter of George Paterson of Dunmuir, and had issue:
(2.1) Sandford Balfour (1741-c.1767) (q.v.);
(2.2) Elizabeth Balfour (1742-1816), born 3 July and baptised at Coupar, 10 July 1742; married, 8 August 1762, William Lindsay (d. 1803) of Feddinch, St. Andrews, and had issue; died at St. Andrews, 11 December 1816;
(2.3) John Balfour (c.1743-95) (q.v.);
(2.4) Francis Balfour (c.1744-1818) (q.v.);
(2.5) Barbara Balfour (b. c.1745).
He received a Crown grant for life of his father's estate of Fernie Castle for life in 1720 and was fully restored in 1738.
He died 20 December 1746. His first wife died 7 June 1739. His widow died 15 January 1796.

Balfour, Sandford* (1741-c.1767). Eldest son of Arthur Balfour (1687-1746) of Fernie Castle and his second wife, Janet, daughter of George Paterson of Dunmuir, born 16 June and baptised at Coupar, 25 June 1741. He was unmarried and without issue.
He inherited the Fernie Castle estate from his father in 1746.
He probably died in or before 1767.
* Entered in the parish register of Monimail as 'Samford'.

Balfour, John (c.1743-95). Second son of Arthur Balfour (d. 1746) of Fernie Castle and his second wife, Janet, daughter of George Paterson of Dunmuir, born about 1743. He was unmarried and without issue.
He was served heir of his elder brother in 1769, but occurs in the local press as 'John Balfour of Fernie' as early as 1767.
He died 23 July 1795.

Balfour, Francis (c.1744-1818), Third son of Arthur Balfour (d. 1746) of Fernie Castle and his second wife Janet, daughter of George Paterson of Dunmuir, born about 1744. He was educated at Edinburgh University (MD, 1767). Physician. A surgeon in the service of the East India Company from 1769 (Asst. Surgeon, 1769; Surgeon, 1777; Head Surgeon, 1786; retired 1807); in the 1770s he served as a Coroner and he was a member of the Madras Medical Board, 1788, 1792-96 and 1802-07. In the 1780s he was a close friend of Warren Hastings, to whom he dedicated The forms of Herkern (1781), the earliest fruit of his labours as an Orientalist, consisting of a Persian formulary and vocabulary which he had translated into English. He was one of the first members of the Bengal Asiatic Society, founded in 1784, and published several papers in their journal on the Arabic roots of the Persian and Hindustani languages, Arabic and Persian grammar, etc.. He also published scientific and medical treatises, including A treatise on the action of Sol-Lunar influence (1784) and A treatise on putrid intestinal remitting fevers (1790). He married, 6 August 1777 in Madras (India), his cousin, Emily or Emilia (1750-89), daughter of Henry Balfour of Dunbog, and had issue:
(1) Francis Balfour (1779-1854) (q.v.);
(2) Emilia Frances Balfour (1782-1810); married, 6 June 1808 at Edinburgh, Sir Neil Menzies (1780-1844), 6th bt., of Castle Menzies (who m2, 1816, Grace Conyers Charlotte, daughter of Hon. Fletcher Norton), and had issue three daughters; died 1810.
He inherited the Fernie Castle estate from his elder brother in 1795.
He died at Fernie Castle, 19 April 1818. His wife died 30 December 1789.

Balfour, Francis (1779-1854). Only son of Francis Balfour MD (d. 1818) of Fernie Castle and his wife, born in India and baptised at Calcutta, 9 February 1779. An officer in the service of the East India Company, 1795-1824 (in the office of the Board of Revenue until 1801 and a customs collector from 1804); Proprietor of a lunatic asylum at Newchurch (IoW) in 1851. He married, 4 November 1828 at Ceres (Fife), Margaret Georgina (1805-53), daughter of Graham Bower of Kincaldrum (Angus) and had issue:
(1) Maj. Francis Walter Balfour (1830-1909) (q.v.);
(2) James Bower Balfour (1831-64), born 22 May and baptised in Edinburgh, 9 June 1831; an officer in the Royal Navy (Cadet, 1845; Lt.); married, 9 August 1859 at St Thomas' church, St John's, Newfoundland (Canada), Martha Maria (d. 1863), second daughter of G.H. Emerson QC of Virginia Water, St. John's, Newfoundland, and had issue one daughter; died at sea between Valparaiso and Juan Fernandez (Chile), 5 January 1864;
(3) Graham Montague Balfour (c.1837-70), born 31 December 1837 and baptised in Italy, 9 January 1838; educated at Addiscombe College; an officer in the Madras Army (Ensign, 1858; Lt., 1862; Capt., 1870); married, 14 June 1862 at Trichinopoly and again 20 November 1863 at Quilon, Madras (India), Emily Charlotte Nield and had issue one son and one daughter; died 15 November 1870 and was buried at Chanda, Bengal (India) on the same day.
He inherited the Fernie Castle estate from his father in 1818. He was responsible for major alterations to the house in c.1844-49.
He died at Fareham (Hants), 3 December 1854 and was buried at Monimail. His wife died at Alverstoke (Hants), 6 March 1853.

Balfour, Maj. Francis Walter (1830-1909). Eldest son of Francis Balfour (1779-1854) and his wife Margaret, daughter of Graham Bower of Kincaldrum (Angus), born 6 January and baptised in Edinburgh, 9 January 1830. An officer in the Rifle Brigade (2nd Lt., 1847; Lt., 1852; Capt., 1855; Maj., 1856; retired 1856), who served in the Crimean War; DL for Fife. He was an unsuccessful claimant to the barony of Balfour of Burleigh as heir male in 1862. He married, 25 October 1866 at Kindrogan (Perths.), Jane Amelia (1840-98), daughter of Patrick Small Keir of Kindrogan, and had issue:
(1) Francis Balfour (1867-1926) [for whom see below, Balfour of Kindrogan];
(2) William Keir Balfour (1869-1941) (q.v.).
He inherited the Fernie Castle estate from his father in 1854 and Kindrogan in right of his wife in 1889. The Fernie estate was disentailed in 1889.
He died intestate, 24 February 1909; administration of his goods was confirmed to his elder son, 23 April 1909 (estate £9,655). His wife died at Kindrogan, 9 February 1898, and was buried at Monimail.

Balfour, William Keir (1869-1941). Younger son of Maj. Francis Walter Balfour (1830-1909) and his wife Jane Amelia, daughter of Patrick Small Keir of Kindrogan (Perths.), born 9 December 1869. As a young man he spent many years ranching in Canada. He was a keen sportsman, particularly devoted to shooting and salmon fishing. He was a member of Fife County Council, Chairman of Cupar Rural District Council and Fife War Pensions Committee, and Chairman of Monimail Parish Council. He married, 12 April 1910 at Dysart House (Fife), Mary (1876-1952), daughter of Sir Michael Barker Nairn, 1st bt., of Rankeilour and Dysart House, but had no issue.
He inherited the Fernie Castle estate from his father in 1909. At his death it passed to his widow for life and then to his nephew, Francis Keir Balfour (1905-74) of Kindrogan.
He died of a seizure while out shooting, 10 September 1941 and was buried at Monimail (Fife); his will was confirmed in Scotland in December 1941 (effects £29,273). His widow died 29 September 1952 and was also buried at Monimail.

Balfour family of Kindrogan

Francis Balfour (1867-1926)
Balfour, Francis (1867-1926). Elder son of Maj. Francis Walter Balfour (1830-1909) and his wife Jane Amelia, daughter of Patrick Small Keir of Kindrogan (Perths.), born 25 August 1867. JP for Perthshire and Fife. He married, 22 April 1903, Katherine Morgan (1883-1971), daughter of Harry Withers Chubb of Burlington, Chislehurst (Kent), and had issue:
(1) Francis Keir Balfour (1905-74) (q.v.);
(2) Katherine Amelia Balfour (1907-52), born 13 May 1907; married, 1940, Valentine Dudley Palmer (1909-41), tea planter (who died at sea as a result of enemy action), but had no issue; died at Eastbourne, 16 August 1952; will proved 25 November 1952 (estate £43,500);
(2) Patrick Small Keir Balfour (1910-67), born 10 September 1910; educated at Repton; married, 1 February 1936, Lila Camilla (1910-2001), daughter of Basil Edward Spicer, and had issue one son and three daughters; died in Glasgow, 11 May 1967.
He inherited the Kindrogan estate from his father in 1909.
He died 2 August 1926. His widow lived at Eastbourne (Sussex) after his death and died 11 June 1971; her will was proved 18 August 1971 (estate £1,692).

Francis Keir Balfour (1905-74)
Balfour, Francis Keir (1905-74). Only son of Francis Balfour (1867-1926) of Kindrogan and his wife Katherine Morgan, daughter of Harry W. Chubb of Burlington, Chislehurst (Kent), born 29 April 1905. Educated at Eton and Clare College, Cambridge (but left without a degree on his father's death). An energetic farmer and landowner, who modernised farming practices on the Kindrogan estate. He married, 15 December 1932 at Sunninghill (Berks), Katharine Augusta (1904-81), daughter of Maj. Sir George Alexander Dolby, of Silwood Park (Berks), but had no issue.
He inherited the Kindrogan estate from his father in 1926, but leased the house to his parents in law as a summer home. He bought Dirnanean in 1926 and lived there until after his father-in-law's death, after which he moved back to Kindrogan. He sold the Kindrogan estate to the Forestry Commission in 1960. He inherited Fernie Castle from his cousin in 1952, and sold that for use as an hotel in 1960. Dirnanean was sold after his death.
He died 3 November 1974 and was buried in the private burial ground at Kindrogan, where he and his wife are commemorated by a monument. His widow died 7 April 1981 and was buried with her husband at Kindrogan.


Burke's Landed Gentry, 1937, p. 89; Burke's Landed Gentry - The Kingdom in Scotland, 2001, pp. 115-17; J.B. Paul, The Scots Peerage, vol. 1, pp. 530-47; J. Gifford, The buildings of Scotland: Fife, 1988, pp. 225-26; N. Haynes, Perth and Kinross: an illustrated architectural guide, 2000, pp. 176-78, 232-33; J. Gifford, The buildings of Scotland: Perth and Kinross, 2007, pp. 164, 184, 250-52; G. MacGregor, Red Book of Scotland, 2nd edn., vol 1, pp. 323-37.

Location of archives

Balfour family of Fernie Castle: deeds, family and estate papers, 1469-20th century [St Andrews University Library [MS38262-38271/5]

Coat of arms

Balfour of Fernie and Kindrogan: Argent, on a chevron sable, an otter's head erased of the first.

Notes about missing information and help wanted with this entry

  • If anyone can provide additional genealogical or career information about the earlier generations of this family, it will be gratefully received.
  • Any additional portraits or photographs of members of this family whose names appear in bold above will be very welcome.

Revision and acknowledgements

This post was first published 14 October 2018.